~ Syllabus ~

Internet Public Relations

Tulane University

School of Continuing Studies

Instructor: Steve O'Keefe
Spring Semester, January 10 - May 6, 2011
MDAR 3650 -- An Online Course
(Content of this syllabus may be changed at the discretion of the instructor.)


  1. Course Description
  2. Objectives
  3. Text Books
  4. Assignments & Grading
  5. Instructor Contact Information
  6. Companion Web Site
  7. Class Rules

1. Course Description:

This course is designed to teach students how to take advantage of Internet technologies to promote a person, product, event, web site, business, or organization. The Internet makes it possible to inexpensively reach millions of people with a promotional message. However, if certain rules are not followed, promoting this way can lead to censorship, blacklisting, and a damaged reputation. This class will help students learn the often-unwritten rules of Internet protocol, while developing online public relations campaigns that are appreciated and effective.

This is a hands-on, nuts & bolts course, focused on both technique and theory. Students will learn some of the most in-demand skills in the current job market, including how to increase traffic at a web site, how to responsibly use social networking for promotional purposes, and how to promote a product, event, or company online. This is an ideal course for anyone considering a career in marketing, publicity, public relations, e-commerce, online media production -- or for anyone who has started a business or is thinking about it. This class requires several hours of online time every week; students should make arrangements for adequate Internet access before signing-up for this course.

One of the things students enjoy most about this class is the ability to build an online PR campaign for a favorite business, organization, or group. Each student selects a "portfolio company" at the beginning of the semester. Week-by-week, the student builds an online PR campaign for that organization. Students have been creative in their choices of companies, including hospitals, schools, nonprofit organizations, churches, their own businesses, or a relative's business. The campaigns are *not* designed to be used by these organizations as part of the class; however, several organizations have gone on to use the campaigns designed in this class at a later date to promote their organizations. Many students have described this class as feeling "like an internship."

2. Objectives:

At the conclusion of this course, students should know how to:

  • Prepare an online publicity plan for a business, agency, or organization
  • Register a web site in search engines and directories
  • Install and maintain social networking profiles
  • Promote the launch of a new web site or a web site re-design
  • Prepare content such as documents for syndication online
  • Write and format email news releases and direct email
  • Locate and responsibly use journalists' email addresses
  • Create a map of key web sites and blogs related to any given subject
  • Conduct blog PR, including locating blogs, posting, commenting, and tracking
  • Produce an online tour in a variety of formats: text, audio, and video
  • Produce and promote an online seminar or workshop
  • Familiarity with online audio and video production tools

3. Text Books:

Title: Online Public Relations
Authors: David Phillips and Philip Young
Publisher: Kogan Page
ISBN: 978-0-7494-4968-1
Edition: Second Edition (2009)

Title: Content Rules
Authors: Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 978-0470648285
Edition: First Edition (2010)

4. Assignments & Grading:

Assignments = 50% of Grade
Assignments will be handed out every week during the semester. Assignments are due by 4:00 p.m. Central Time on Friday of the week they are assigned -- either emailed to instructor or posted online. Each assignment will be graded on a scale of 0 to 5. Grades are based on both content and format (neatness counts). Assignments will be reduced by one full grade for each week they are late. The first week an assignment is late, the grade will be reduced by one point; the second week, by two points; the third week, by three points. Assignments more than three weeks late will not be accepted for a homework grade. Assignments more than three weeks late will still be accepted for a portfolio grade.

Quizzes - 25% of Grade
There will be a few short quizzes given during the semester to evaluate the student's understanding of the assigned readings. Quizzes may involve a variety of formats, including multiple choice, matching, short answer, and short essay. Quizzes must be completed by 4:00 p.m. Central Time on Friday of the week they are given.

Portfolio = 25% of Grade
Your portfolio consists of all your weekly assignments assembled into one neat package and submitted by 4:00 p.m. Central Time on the final Friday of the class (Friday, April 29, 2011). Students wanting to improve their grades can revise their weekly assignments based on instructor feedback and submit the improved versions in their portfolio. If you do not revise your assignments, your portfolio grade will be identical to your assignments grade. If you revise your assignments, your portfolio grade will be higher than your assignments grade. TIP: Revise your assignments each week as you go; students waiting to revise their assignments until the conclusion of the semester are often are unable to complete the revisions.


A = Superior
Student works well beyond requirements; shows a flair for subject. Excellent command of the textbooks and other readings.

B = Above Average
Assignments go beyond minimum requirements. Good command of the textbooks and other readings.

C = Average
Completes assignments; demonstrates understanding of basic principles. Completes readings.

D = Below Average
Missing or incomplete assignments; failure to complete or understand readings.

F = Fail
Numerous missing or incomplete assignments; no evidence that student has completed or understands the readings.

5. Instructor Contact Information:

Voice: (504) 342-4806   Fax: (504) 342-4157
E-Mail: sokeefe@tulane.edu

6. Companion Web Site:

A companion web site has been set-up for this class. The web site includes class assignments, resources used to complete class assignments, and other features. The companion web site is located at:


7. Class Rules:

Assignments: Assignments are due by 4:00 p.m. Central Time on Friday of the week they are assigned. Most assignments will be word processor documents. You may send assignments electronically as email attachments. As neatness is important to effectiveness in public relations, it is important to the grading in this class. Tulane expects students to spend twice as much time on homework as is spent in class. If you are spending more than 5 hours per week on homework for this class, you are advised to contact the instructor for assistance.

Plagiarism: When assignments call for you to submit your own work, you are not allowed to copy the work of someone else and submit it as your own. That is called "plagiarism" and it is against Tulane University policy. Using modern technology, it is relatively easy to find and document plagiarism. Many students are disciplined each year for copying the work of others and submitting it as their own without proper attribution.

Quizzes: Quizzes must be completed by the student themselves, without the assistance of any other person, including friends, tutors, parents or guardians. Students may be required to submit to oral examinations via telephone or Internet.

Etiquette: Students will be held to a high level of professional behavior. Please refrain from rude or offensive remarks in written assignments.

Office Hours: Email assistance is usually available promptly. The instructor encourages students to email any questions about assignments or exams. Phone consultations are available by appointment; please email the instructor for an appointment. The instructor is usually available to meet online or talk with students Monday - Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Central Time.

Home | About Us | About You | E-Mail

Copyright Patron Saint Productions, Inc. ~ All Rights Reserved
Voice: (504) 342-4806 ~ info@patronsaintpr.com ~ Fax: (504) 342-4157
PatronSaintPR.com ~ AuthorViews.com